I read from a web that to pronounce ch[ʧ] in cheek and j[ʤ] in juice, the front part of the tongue raises and touches the roof of the mouth in the t/d tongue position when they say ch/j sound. Is it correct?

And as native English speaker do you think it is correct if the middle of the tongue (not the front) is touching the roof of the mouth to pronounce those sounds?

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    It's the tip of my tongue hitting the roof of my mouth when I make those sounds, personally. I can't tell if your way makes the correct sound because I can't recreate it. Consider posting a recording?
    – hairboat
    Feb 10, 2014 at 15:44
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    I have been trying to pronounce it the way you describe, and now my colleagues and my room mate think I am mad. :(
    – oerkelens
    Feb 10, 2014 at 18:44
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    If you use "middle of the tongue" as you described, chance is you use [t͡ɕ] (Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate) instead of [t͡ʃ] (Voiceless palato-alveolar affricate). Generally, both the sounds are really close to each other in typical natural speech. I'm not a native-speaker so I couldn't speak for them, however, my opinion is [t͡ɕ] is passable for [t͡ʃ] in English. But it's the best to adjust your tongue position (as Abby T. Miller said) if possible. Feb 10, 2014 at 20:19
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    To clarify what Abby T. Miller's roof of mouth a little, the phrase "roof of mouth" is not quite specific. Perhaps it might be better to state the difference between the two sounds. The most obvious difference between the two from the speaker point of view is whether your tongue tip touches your lower teeth or somewhere near your lower teeth or not. (It shouldn't when you make the [t͡ʃ] sound.) From the listener point of view, the difference can be felt (or observed) by the sound before and after this [t͡ʃ] sound. Feb 10, 2014 at 20:29
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    If the two sounds are really [t͡ɕ] and [t͡ʃ], I suspect that most English speakers can't tell them apart. (They're two different consonants in Serbian, and I know from experience that they sound almost identical to me.) Feb 10, 2014 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


The English pronunciation of "ch" as in "church" and "j" as in "juice" are themselves not single consonant sounds, but rather a combination of two sounds.

In the case of "ch," the physical execution is equivalent to "t" as in "tie" and "sh" as in "ship." In the case of "j," it is a combination of "d" as in "die" and the "s" in "pleasure."

Though English speakers don't think about making these sounds in this way and certainly do not make two distinct consonant sounds when pronouncing them, they are infact built from those two sounds pronounced in very quick succession. If you use "t" and "d" as your guides for where you tongue should start, your tongue will be in position to pronounce "ch" and "j" correctly.

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